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Uyghur PEN Centre Conference in Crimea 19 July 2012.
 

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  • Prominent Uyghur Poet and Author Confirmed to Have Died While Imprisoned

    RFA Uyghur news 2021-01-25Reports of the death come as details emerge on the sentence length of another detained poet. The oldest of more than a dozen staff members arrested after their Uyghur-run publishing house in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) released “problematic” books has died while serving an 11-year jail term, according to official sources. At least 14 staff members of Kashgar Publishing House in the XUAR’s Kashgar (in Chinese, Kashi) city have been arrested since 2017, including Haji Mirzahid Kerimi, an 82-year-old former editor for the company and celebrated poet. The renowned writer had routinely risked his freedom by penning the most comprehensive histories of figures who helped to establish a Uyghur kingdom in Central Asia between the 8th and 11th centuries. Kerimi was sentenced to 11 years in prison, despite a serious health condition, because he wrote five books that were later blacklisted by the government and had delivered a “problematic” speech during an award ceremony for his poetry, sources told RFA’s Uyghur Service in late 2018. Reports that Kerimi had died on Jan. 9, 2021 recently began circulating on Uyghur-language social media and RFA was able to confirm that he passed away in prison while serving his latest term. An officer at the Id Kah Police Station in Kashgar refused to discuss whether Kerimi had died or whether he had overseen security at his funeral, referring further questions to the local Public Security Bureau (PSB). But two police officers from Kashgar, who spoke to RFA on condition of anonymity fearing reprisal, said that the author and poet had expired recently. “We heard word that he died—we don’t know the details, though,” one officer said. “They brought his body from the hospital,” he added, noting that it had first been brought to the hospital from the prison […]

     
  • How to sustain Uyghur culture in the diaspora?

    At a time of crisis for Uyghur language and culture, in the face of China’s policies of cultural erasure in the Uyghur homeland, we mark International Mother Language Day by inviting Uyghur writers, poets and artists, translators and experts on Uyghur culture, to discuss how best to sustain Uyghur language, literature and culture in the diaspora.  PEN Uyghur Centre promotes literature, freedom of expression, and the right to use our mother tongue, and works to sustain Uyghur culture in the diaspora.  We celebrate PEN International Centenary 2021! 100 years of celebrating literature and protecting freedom of expression The Centenary is a celebration of PEN ’s 100 years. Bringing together PEN Centres, members, partners, writers, readers and activists for a unique programme of events, campaigns and activities across residencies and workshops globally, the Centenary is a celebration of PEN ’s unfinished story. Moderator:   Aziz Isa ElkunWriter, poet, director of Uyghur PEN Online Revitalisation Project Speakers: Mukaddas Mijit Ethnomusicologist, film maker, dancer, and music manager Joshua FreemanPostdoctoral fellow, Princeton Society of Fellows Abduweli AyupWriter, poet, and linguist specialising in Uyghur language education Tahir IminScholar of political science, founder of Uighur Times Agency Rachel HarrisProfessor of Ethnomusicology, SOAS, University of London Ross HolderAsia Regional Programme Coordinator of PEN International Details:  Date and time: Sunday 21 February, 15:00 London time Discussion topic: “How to sustain Uyghur culture in the diaspora?” Platform: Webex Webinar  Language: English  The event will be live streamed on Uyghur PEN’s Facebook page.  Please register for the Webinar on Eventbrite:www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/how-to-sustain-uyghur-culture-in-the-diaspora-tickets-137415189531 Organised by Uyghur PEN Online Revitalisation Project with the support of PEN International.  www.uyghurpen.org | www.pen-international.org ________________________________________________________________

     
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  • ‘Our souls are dead’: how I survived a Chinese ‘re-education’ camp for Uighurs

    After 10 years living in France, I returned to China to sign some papers and I was locked up. For the next two years, I was systematically dehumanised, humiliated and brainwashedby Gulbahar Haitiwaji with Rozenn Morgat The man on the phone said he worked for the oil company, “In accounting, actually”. His voice was unfamiliar to me. At first, I couldn’t make sense of what he was calling about. It was November 2016, and I had been on unpaid leave from the company since I left China and moved to France 10 years earlier. There was static on the line; I had a hard time hearing him. “You must come back to Karamay to sign documents concerning your forthcoming retirement, Madame Haitiwaji,” he said. Karamay was the city in the western Chinese province of Xinjiang where I’d worked for the oil company for more than 20 years. “In that case, I’d like to grant power of attorney,” I said. “A friend of mine in Karamay takes care of my administrative affairs. Why should I come back for some paperwork? Why go all that way for such a trifle? Why now?” The man had no answers for me. He simply said he would call me back in two days after looking into the possibility of letting my friend act on my behalf. My husband, Kerim, had left Xinjiang in 2002 to look for work. He tried first in Kazakhstan, but came back disillusioned after a year. Then in Norway. Then France, where he had applied for asylum. Once he was settled there, our two girls and I would join him. Kerim had always known he would leave Xinjiang. The idea had taken root even before we were hired by the oil company. We had met as students in Urumqi, the largest city in Xinjiang province, and, as new […]

     
  • Free Yalqun Rozi

    Uyghur PEN Centre 10 August 2020 A public figure, journalist, writer and literary critic, born in Atush in 1966, and graduated from Xinjiang University in 1987. He worked as a journalist for Urumchi People’s Radio Broadcasting. From 1991, he worked as an editor for “Xinjiang Education” newspaper, and from 2005, he worked as an editor for Xinjiang Education Publishing. He is author of many of books and articles about Uyghur education, literary criticism, modern history and various Uyghur historical and social issues. He was detained in October 2017 soon after he returned from a trip abroad. Since then we have learned that he has been sentenced to a 15 year prison term, but we are unable to get official confirmation.  On 14th July 2018, Uyghur PEN Centre submitted Yalqun Rozi’s case to the PEN International Writers in Prison Committee along with other five prominent Uyghur writers whom arbitrarily locked inside the interment camps or arrested in the Uyghur Autonomous region of China. These Uyghur writers’ cases were debated taking concern the general worsening Uyghur situation during the 84th PEN International Congress held in Pune, India from 25-29 September 2018. In 2019, PEN International Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC) officially accepted these Uyghur writers cases and started campaigning for their release with 146 PEN Centres globally including the Uyghur PEN Centre and other relevant international organizations. Tumaris wants to see her father, Yalqun Rozi. A leading intellectual who was detained in late 2016 and later sentenced to 15 years. She demands his immediate release. Relevant source:https://www.rfa.org/uyghur/xewerler/siyaset/radiyomizgha-mektup-09242018150730.html

     
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  • Uyghur writer Omerjan Hasan has been arrested and his fate is unknown

     
  • Let’s write for freedom, let the “Wild pigeon” go free!